November 05, 2014

6 of the strangest Health & Safety fails

Big or small, from Amsterdam to Zimbabwe, big time or local, health and safety infringements range from minor errors to catastrophic decisions, all of which should be taken with the same seriousness. One minor miscalculation or wrong assumption practised can lead to injuries or worse.

Whether it’s The Rolling Stones at Wembley Stadium or Uncle Joe’s fair in Scarborough Market, health and safety is of top priority.

To illustrate its importance, we\’ve put together a number of events that had strange results due to poor health and safety.

Michael Jackson / Pepsi
Even the greatest of all time fell victim to health and safety. During the filming of a Pepsi advert, the king of pop accidently had his hair catch on fire due to a miscued firework. While the King of Pop’s signature move did not extinguish the flames, the incident illustrates that health and safety mishaps can affect anyone.

Lessons learnt: there is a reason the flammable warning sign is placed on hair products.

Click here for footage

WWE Elimination Chamber
Why is this here? Let me delve deeper. Wrestler ‘The Undertaker’ always makes a dramatic and eerie entrance. However, on this PPV, the pyrotechnics that were due to go off during his walk down the ramp were set off early. The Undertaker received third degree burns across his legs as a result.

Lessons learnt: Fire can burn the undead.

Leeds Festival
Notorious for its wildness, The Leeds leg of the 2002 Leeds festival seemed to have passed without incident. That was, until early morning on sunday, when 400 people set fire to over 70 toilets, skips and buildings.

Lessons learnt: Never use facilities on the last day of Leeds Festival. Its bound to end up in a palava.

Libertines at Hyde Park
Reunited and due to perform for the first time as a group since 2010 ,The Libertines appearance at Hyde Park was due to enthral. As ‘Boys in the Band’ was performed, audience members began to throw flares and fireworks at the band. Following separate calls from the band and security to stop throwing fireworks, the event returned to normalcy.

Lessons learnt: Even if you don’t like the band on stage, refrain from walloping them with flares and fireworks.

Ottawa’s Bluesfest
The audience witnessed an added attraction to Ottawa’s Bluesfest in July 2011. The temporary roof was blown away thanks to storms hitting the region. While nobody was injured or hurt, greater health and safety measures have been called upon in regards to temporary setups/stages.

Lessons learnt: Check the weather before an event. Double check all aspects of the venue and stage. Take extra precautions.

Gladiators UK
We all had our favourite during the ‘90s. Some liked Rhino, some liked Jet and some even liked Wolf. In 2008, during rehearsals for the returning classic, many contestants rehearsed the risky games and some were injured, forcing a participant to withdraw from TV tapings. As a result, health and safety refinements / improvements were made.

Lessons learnt: Always record the rehearsals. They may be worth a £100 from ‘You’ve Been Framed’ one of these days.

While there were some obvious breaches that didn’t turn too well, here’s an example of how the enforcement prevented trouble.

Madonna / 2006 Confessions Tour
Celebrity demands are as common as seeing slim fit jeans in Shoreditch, however one demand from Madonna before her Wembley Arena gig didn’t go down too well. After requesting air conditioning be turned on during her performances to preserve her vocals, health and safety bosses put a kibosh on the idea faster than you can say ‘papa don’t preach’. The heat generated from the air conditioning would have increased the already sweltering temperatures and left many diehards in real jeopardy due to the confined space. Nice work rule regulators!

Health and safety at your event takes many forms. However solid preparation, great organisation and in-depth research will make the difference. Here are some links that can help you achieve just that:

4 potential evils that can mess up your event, and how to deal with them.

10 essential event planning tips whether you’re indoors or out

What happens when it rains at your outdoor event

Raj Jilka